Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, extending southwards from the Atomic Bomb Dome and located mostly on a narrow stretch of land between two rivers, feels somewhat like a green island in the middle of the city. A tranquil spot covering over 120,000 square meters, it serves to memorialize the great many lives lost in the world's first nuclear attack, while making use of nature to reaffirm the preciousness of all life.
Just south of the Atomic Bomb Dome along the east bank of the Motoyasu River, a bridge takes visitors over to the slice of land on which the majority of the park is situated. Prior to the 1945 bombing, this district was the administrative and commercial heart of Hiroshima. In 1949, the recovering city decided the area should become a place of remembrance and contemplation, rather than simply being rebuilt.
A number of monuments have been constructed in the park over the decades since it was created. These range in scale from the expansive Peace Memorial Museum, designed by renowned architect Tange Kenzo (1913-2005), to modestly-sized statues dedicated to mobilized students, Korean citizens who were killed or injured, and several notable individuals.
Each of these memorials, all within easy walking distance of each other, possesses its own particular poignancy. For many visitors, the most striking is the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims. Another Tange design, this concrete structure built in 1952 was inspired by an ancient clay figurine (haniwa), and as such is intended to offer shelter for the souls of the deceased.